Author Topic: Feature Request: FlexRaid One  (Read 2003 times)

Offline DarkKnight

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Feature Request: FlexRaid One
« on: December 28, 2014, 02:57:10 pm »
How about a fully unified product?

For example:

An actual Application based GUI for controlling the product. Intel RST app is a perfect example.

A single product allowing selection between all storage modes and features at first run, and offering recommendations based on current storage configuration. Integrated license checking to determine authorized modes, which leads me to my next suggestion:

In-app upgrades, for example, you obviously prefer to keep differentiating products with separate license fees. There is currently a *lot* of friction IMHO to choosing which features you want and paying for those, and especially for upgrading or switching features. There is currently zero incentive (advertised anyway) for existing customers to purchase access to other (expensive) raid modes/features from you. Existing license owners should realize some kind of discount through purchasing upgrades and additional features. This should be an easy process, and it's not.

More over, you should really be licensing based on Versions, systems, or number of drives vs RAID modes AND systems/number of drives. I'm not going to be able to utilize both SnapShot/Realtime raid and Transparent raid on the same system. I have zero need to use two independent instances of FlexRaid products. I DO need to switch between Snapshot raid and Transparent raid based on my evolving needs, and upgrade to new major feature that you develop without it being a separate product that is really the same product in a different mode. I think it's punitive to add another pretty expensive charge to access something that should really be apart of  a single 'Flexraid 3' app encompassing my already purchased Snapshot raid/Storage Pooling and the T-raid features you've actually been working on, for a more modest upgrade fee for existing users.

A *real* update process. An in-client updater that supports periodically checking for updates and installing said updates without requiring a whole lot of user intervention. So many applications support this. As an infrastructure application, yours really should too. Examples of apps I've just updated today alone that use some version of this process: Plex, Couchpotato, Windows, Handbrake.

A better system for monitoring the health of your Raid array. Currently, if I want a history of how my Snapshot based raid has been behaving, I have to go through my email and look for all updates/verify/validates for success failure notices; it's tedious and kludgy. There should be a built in log parser that breaks down operations by date/time with selection bubbles for Success/Failure/All.

There are so many things I wish this product would/could be. Hire an employee to help develop and someone to do marketing to fund your growth, you can't do everything yourself.


Edit: 'Suggested Exclusions' presets, based on common use cases for Flexraid (such as Media stores excluding *.nfo) would be handy.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2014, 06:17:44 pm by DarkKnight »

Offline Brahim

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Re: Feature Request: FlexRaid One
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2014, 06:17:34 am »
1. Noted.

2. The FlexRAID team is growing. More on that much later.

3. The web is the future and FlexRAID products are designed to be headless. So, a desktop GUI is your browser.  ;)
That said, FlexRAID products all provide web services such that it is easy to develop mobile and desktop apps for them.

4. RAID-F and tRAID are truly different products. Different technologies and different development cycles. More importantly, they fit different deployment scenarios.

All in all, there are a lot of things in the works. Silence typically means busy working (when not on some well deserved vacation  :P).

Offline Quaraxkad

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Re: Feature Request: FlexRaid One
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2014, 05:35:10 pm »
3. The web is the future and FlexRAID products are designed to be headless. So, a desktop GUI is your browser.  ;)
That said, FlexRAID products all provide web services such that it is easy to develop mobile and desktop apps for them.

A discussion of how bleak the future of an all-web UI would be is beside the point.  :P

A web UI is merely passable for basic setup and monitoring, but for a product like this it's practically a requirement for a proper UI to be available. It could certainly be a server/client software setup, but there's no chance that any web UI could ever properly handle a system as complex as FlexRAID *should* and *could* be. No browser on the planet for the foreseeable future will ever be able to handle a decent software UI experience for anything but the most basic of functionality, regardless of how good the developer and/or designer is.

The biggest issue I see in RAID-F specifically as it stands now (aside from bugs and its inability to gracefully handle minor errors and problems) is that it's very difficult if not impossible for a user to understand the true state of your array. Knowing what files are properly protected and what files are not, digging through hundreds of megabytes of log files is just not feasible. I can envision a system where there's a nested tree-like view of your array, and it shows the files that currently exist on the DRUs, along with the files that are included in the current parity set, showing any discrepancies between the two. With the ability to manually select individual files or sets of files to either validate, verify, or recover while ignoring all other files that may be missing. The possibilities are staggering, and it could easily become far and away the greatest RAID-like system available. But none of it is possible with a web UI, the scope is just too large for a browser to handle, and a utility that simply parses log files is not feasible. It needs to be heavily integrated with the "internals" of RAID-F.

Now I can't point to any other examples of software like this that has a proper UI because one does not exist. As far as I know your only solid competitor is SnapRaid which has no UI at all. But that's not a valid reason to stick with only the most basic and barebones web UI.

Offline DarkKnight

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Re: Feature Request: FlexRaid One
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2014, 07:44:20 am »
A discussion of how bleak the future of an all-web UI would be is beside the point.  :P

A web UI is merely passable for basic setup and monitoring, but for a product like this it's practically a requirement for a proper UI to be available. It could certainly be a server/client software setup, but there's no chance that any web UI could ever properly handle a system as complex as FlexRAID *should* and *could* be. No browser on the planet for the foreseeable future will ever be able to handle a decent software UI experience for anything but the most basic of functionality, regardless of how good the developer and/or designer is.

The biggest issue I see in RAID-F specifically as it stands now (aside from bugs and its inability to gracefully handle minor errors and problems) is that it's very difficult if not impossible for a user to understand the true state of your array. Knowing what files are properly protected and what files are not, digging through hundreds of megabytes of log files is just not feasible. I can envision a system where there's a nested tree-like view of your array, and it shows the files that currently exist on the DRUs, along with the files that are included in the current parity set, showing any discrepancies between the two. With the ability to manually select individual files or sets of files to either validate, verify, or recover while ignoring all other files that may be missing. The possibilities are staggering, and it could easily become far and away the greatest RAID-like system available. But none of it is possible with a web UI, the scope is just too large for a browser to handle, and a utility that simply parses log files is not feasible. It needs to be heavily integrated with the "internals" of RAID-F.

Now I can't point to any other examples of software like this that has a proper UI because one does not exist. As far as I know your only solid competitor is SnapRaid which has no UI at all. But that's not a valid reason to stick with only the most basic and barebones web UI.

Exactly my point. I can't think of a single raid console from a major manufacturer that is 'web' based. I can't help but feel as if you are trying to nudge someone in the community to develop a desktop app for you. It's been years this feature has been asked for; it's not happening that way. Go rent a coder if you don't want to do it yourself.

Perhaps from a developers perspective, or maybe just for your own marketing segmentation you are calling these "two different products", they aren't. It's a software stack designed to provide RAID redundancy. The implementations are different, but don't kid yourself. It's the same product from a consumer standpoint. More over, it feels like you've been putting zero time into improving F(orgotten)-Raid, when it still feels very much like an unfinished product. I am really so tired of digging through my damn email to find out if an operation went ok. That should be an extra feature, not a replacement for a GUI log parser that lists date/time/operation/success.  ???